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  • Results 1 to 3 of 3

    1. #1
      People suck.
      SpideyWrex's Avatar
      Join Date
      Apr 2020
      AL Points

      Your Friendly Neighborhood Anime Critic

      Per @unoduetre 's suggestion, this shall be the start of my anime review thread. I didn't create this earlier because I didn't have any anime to review yet.

      Here's to many fruitful analysis to come.

    2. #2
      People suck.
      SpideyWrex's Avatar
      Join Date
      Apr 2020
      AL Points

      Re: Your Friendly Neighborhood Anime Critic

      War. War never changes.

      Among the sea of anime, I have searched high and low looking for the best of the best, the most original and unique stories ever exchanged among weeb-kind. Among these myriad stars that shine across Japanese animation, one franchise stands out from all of them as one worthy of respect, one anime held in higher regards than the likes of Star Wars, Star Trek, Evangelion and even Ghost in the Shell. It's considered to be the greatest tale ever told, the masterpiece that nothing could hope to surpass, not Serial Experiments Lain, not Mushishi and not even Cowboy Bebop. Its name: Legend of the Galactic Heroes. This is its pilot movie.

      If you think all that has been hyperbole... you would be half-right. Probably. But having re-experienced the film that started it all, I feel that such a legendary series requires a sufficient amount of dramatics. This introductory movie proudly displays the three important aspects needed for a thinking man's anime: politics, philosophy and strategy. Considering the year this film was released in, its style and animation still stand out as distinctive among other anime of its time. Its substance, on the other hand, is unquestionably amazing.

      Let's start with the good points. This is not your average anime. In the 59 minutes it has to tell the story, "My Conquest is the Sea of Stars" manages to dig quite deep into both the politics and the philosophies of warfare more than any of the original SW trilogy (or even some of the most renowned war films) ever did. Rather than glorifying and romanticizing warfare, the film features a vast cast of characters who share realistic view-points on a war that's been going on for 150 years. Rather than focusing on superficial aspects like "a galaxy long time ago in somewhere far away," the movie's opening narrative talks about the history of mankind and their constant relationship with battles and warfare. Even among the allies of this short tale, the characters have small skirmishes among themselves, whether as a bar fight or bickering between the higher-ups and the soldiers forced to follow orders. Even the meaning of what a soldier is in times of war (and whether if one should just blindly follow orders) becomes an actual discussion in the movie. As another reviewer once said, "It's an antithesis of Star Wars." In short, expect very heavy analysis for the rest of the time you're spending with this franchise.

      The good thing is, even though it's exactly as political and topical as the reputation had me believed, it's inaccurate to call it "dry" and "preachy". The panache and humor it has keep things from becoming unenjoyable. Most importantly, the wonderfully-written characters are the glue to hold those less interested in politics and more interested in a good story. There's rarely a black and white morality featured here and the realistic personalities easily help anyone to relate and connect with any one individual of the movie - almost anyone, but I'll get to that later.

      The two protagonists are charming enough for the pilot of the OVA, but I find Yang Wen-Li more relatable than Reinhard at this point. That's not to say Reinhard is poorly written, however. He's an intelligent strategist the likes of Lelouch Lamperouge and Light Yagami, but without the ego that comes with either. Instead, Reinhard focuses on maintaining minimum casualties in his battles. And as if that isn't already an arduous task in times of war, he also has to navigate the political minefield his superior, Fleet Admiral "Gregor von Muckenberger," has set up for him. Gregor has the utmost disrespect for Reinhard due to his background as someone who (supposedly) only got promoted because of his connection with his sister. Needless to say, Reinhard is unlike any intellectual you've seen in the landscape of anime.

      Wen-Li is a pacifist, but isn't afraid to take down the enemy to protect his people and allies - not out of a sense of patriotism, but more out of the obligation to cherish life. What's interesting is that he's pretty flawed for a pacifist, keeping him from becoming a one-dimensional saint. He knew that the actions of his obstinate commander would get his fleet-mates killed, but chose not to be too forceful with his superior so as to prevent any conflict.

      The one hour feature is largely just two space-battles that set up the atmosphere and universe of LotGH quite well. The dialogues let you know that the writers aren't forcefully leaning against any one political view, and the discussion on men's tendency for war merely serves as a reminder of our human nature, not a lecture. However, there's one thing that hold this back from being a masterpiece, and it's ironically the best part of the movie as well - the characters.

      Not all characters are morally-ambiguous; some of them are even outright cliched. You still have your drooling male perverts forced in to glorify some of the more 'morally-righteous' side characters to make them look like heroes; basically foils serving as plot-device. This first flaw is probably a product of its time, so I could at least turn a blind eye. However, there are also the antagonists of this film, the 'superiors.' Gregor has an understandable reason to disrespect Reinhard, so I have no problems with him, but Wen-Li's commander (Paeta, I think was his name) is an incompetent buffoon and thus easily stands out among the rest of the well-written characters. Scenes featuring him were obviously the least interesting parts of the movie.

      Aside from that small gripe, the rest of the pilot movie works quite well for newcomers of the franchise. The soundtrack used belongs to the classical kind, featuring the likes of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 and Ravel's Boléro, very fitting pieces that set the tone for the kind of epic and poetic space opera you'll come to experience for 110 episodes. And it all ends with a promise of deeper explorations in the relationship between Reinhard and Wen-Li, one that will further intrigue audiences into checking out the highly acclaimed OVA.

      Highly Recommended.


    3. #3

      Re: Your Friendly Neighborhood Anime Critic


      I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. (Evelyn Beatrice Hall)
      Information wants to be free. (Stewart Brand)
      The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum—even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate. (Noam Chomsky)
      (about neoliberalism) Instead of citizens, it produces consumers. Instead of communities, it produces shopping malls. The net result is an atomized society of disengaged individuals who feel demoralized and socially powerless. (Robert W. McChesney)
      Liberty without socialism is privilege and injustice, socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality. (Mikhail Bakunin)
      Man, your head is haunted; you have wheels in your head! You imagine great things, and depict to yourself a whole world of gods that has an existence for you, a spirit-realm to which you suppose yourself to be called, an ideal that beckons to you. You have a fixed idea! Do not think that I am jesting or speaking figuratively when I regard those persons who cling to the Higher, and (because the vast majority belongs under this head) almost the whole world of men, as veritable fools, fools in a madhouse. (Max Stirner)
      No one else can help you discover what you really want and what you really need. You can only discover it yourself. No one else can convince you. You can only convince yourself. No one else can liberate you. You can only liberate yourself. (Who Cares)
      6.373 The world is independent of my will. (Ludwig Wittgenstein)
      Principle of tolerance: we are not in the business of setting up prohibitions but of arriving at conventions (…) In logic there are no morals. Everyone is welcome to set up their logic, i.e., their form of language, as they please. If they want to discuss it with us, though, they need to (…) give syntactical specifications rather than philosophical debates. (Rudolf Carnap, slightly modified)

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